1961 Volkswagen Beetle
4-cyl. 1192cc/40hp 1bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
By 1960 the Beetle was starting to show its age compared to other subcompacts. Business was still brisk, though, with the company producing 807,488 cars worldwide in 1961 and 154,363 Sedans sold in the U.S., along with 6219 Cabriolets. Prices remained the same, with $1565 for the 1961 Beetle Deluxe Sedan, $1655 for the Sunroof Sedan and $2055 for the Cabriolet.
The factory promised 27 improvements for the new model and some were significant, like boosting the engine to 40 bhp at 3900 rpm, an all-synchromesh 4-speed gearbox and an ignition switch that couldn’t engage the starter motor when the engine was running.
Many others were small tweaks to make the car a bit more user friendly, like changing the gas tank shape to fit more luggage and venting it outside the car to eliminate smells. The fusebox moved under the dash for more protection, the brake fluid reservoir was transparent, windshield washers were standard and the passenger got a better grab handle.
Nine exterior colors were offered for the Sedans. They were Black (L41); Pearl White (L87); Jupiter Gray (L225 Standard only); Rush Green (L344 Standard only); Turquoise (L380); Gulf Blue (L390); Pastel Blue (L391); Ruby Red (L456); Beryl Green (L478).
Ten Cabriolet colors were available. They were Black (L41); Poppy Red (L54); Pearl White (L87); Turquoise (L380); Gulf Blue (L390); Pastel Blue (L391); Ruby Red (L456); Beryl Green (L478); Yukon Yellow (L10009); Brunswick Blue (L100018).
Interiors could be cloth, leatherette, or combined. Cloth colors were Silver Beige, Olive or Turquoise. Leatherette options were Silver Beige, True Red, Soft Beige, and Ice Blue. Interior colors were coordinated with exterior paint. Sunroofs were Black, Pearl White, Jupiter Grey, Jade Green, Turquoise, Gulf Blue, Pastel Blue, Ruby Red and Beryl Green. Convertible tops were Black, Mouse Grey, Silver Grey, Green, Blue Green and Olive Green. Headliners could be Light Gray or Beige, carpets were Gray or Honey Brown and rubber mats were Gray.